OSD brief on Future Vertical Lift


The Department of Defense has unveiled its strategy for the “Future Vertical Lift” (FVL) capabilities based assessment.

The goal is to determine the DOD’s needs for vertical lift after 2020, and then craft an acquisition strategy to obtain it.

The options range from the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL), which is an A400M-sized rotorcraft, to the Joint Multi-Role (JMR), which is a replacement for the UH-60 and AH-64. Either one would be the first all-new military helicopter developed in the US since the early 1980s. And they each promise performance breakthroughs in either speed, size or both.


Some could ask why a new rotorcraft of any kind is answer. This briefing suggests the answer is the appalling loss rates of helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan. Somewhat shockingly, compared to Vietnam, the per sortie loss rates for helicopters are higher in the Global War on Terrorism (click on chart).

Durham AHS Brief 11-19-08v2.pdf


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3 Responses to OSD brief on Future Vertical Lift

  1. Royce 9 December, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    The key thing here is that the American helicopter industry gets a lot of money for military tech development on projects that the civil market and rest of the world doesn’t care about. Meanwhile, the rest of the world will focus on developing new helicopters for a military and civilian market that is happy with conventional designs with incremental improvements rather than revolutionary new configurations.

  2. yasotay 9 December, 2008 at 9:24 pm #

    I am surprised at the line of why vertical at all. Given the massive number of sortie of rotorcraft being generated around the world on a daily basis (far exceeding the fixed wing in the theater of focus). The fact that the areas being covered with far fewer forces and we have to expect the cost of fuel to continue to rise, we are coming to a point where the conventional rotorcraft are coming to an end of cost and operational effectiveness. No I am not calling a CH-47 or an Apache ineffective, but we are flying them far in exceess of the anticipated tempo because they are having to cover much more distance and they are operating at the edge of their envelop on a regular basis. Maintennance cost and number of maintannce cycles are up. A tilt rotor can be almost anywhere in Iraq in an hour. The same cannot be said for a conventional rotorcraft. Given that locations for operations may become more limited in theather(s) in the future this could become even more pronounce a circumstance for those newer technologies.

  3. Kerrie 4 December, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    Hay, actions speak louder than words.

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